EDMONTON -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Good Samaritan Society on behalf of residents and family members of residents at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

The suit was filed on Aug. 12, at which point 23 people had died as a result of COVID-19, 43 residents and 24 staff members had tested positive. As of Sept. 4, 32 residents have died, 40 residents and 31 employees have recovered, and there are still seven active resident and two active employee cases.

“We’re essentially saying that the management of the Good Samaritan society was negligent, so it’s not so much on the staff, but it all started with being ill prepared, not training staff to use PPE, failing to provide adequate PPE, improper disposal, and I think the main thing is the volume at which it spread at the Good Samaritan Southgate Centre in Edmonton,” said Basil Bansal, one of the lawyers representing the residents in the suit.

“The latest numbers that I saw show that 78 residents impacted, whether they were either diagnosed positive with COVID-19 or whether they passed away, so the sheer volume. And the main problem is the fact that they failed to properly isolate people who were deemed positive with COVID-19.”

Bansal said he couldn’t comment at this time on the number of people currently represented in the suit, saying the number is growing daily.

“Like I said, 79 residents or their families qualify just on the basis that they passed away from COVID-19, or you’ve been diagnosed positive with COVID-19 and you’re a resident of the Good Samaritan, you qualify to be part of this,” he said.

Bansal said the goal of the suit is to get compensation for families, but also to bring change to the Southgate Care Centre, and other long term care centres across the country.

He said the process could be a long one though, and the timeline moving forward isn’t the same as a normal class action lawsuit because the pandemic is ongoing.

“The whole thing is, as we know with COVID-19, it’s not an ending process here. We’re not out of the clear. So what a class action allows us to do is add more plaintiffs should the situation change.”

The Good Samaritan Society sent a statement to CTV News Edmonton on the topic of the lawsuit.

“We are in receipt of the statement of claim. Since this is considered active litigation, I am sure you can appreciate that we are not in a position to make any further comment.”